Friday morning President Trump announced he will “likely” support a congressional effort to lift the federal ban on marijuana.
Medford City Council member Clay Bearnson says this will help not just his marijuana businesses.
“You know if you’re paying money to go to work, it’s basically a hobby,” said Bearnson.
Although Bearnson enjoys himself at work, when he started up his business two years ago he was hoping for more profits.
“In a normal business all of your cost of goods, your pay role, your insurance, your lease, they’re all expenses that can be written off of your bottom line,” said Bearnson.
Unfortunately, doesn’t work that way for the marijuana industry.
“In the retail end of the cannabis business, you really get nailed in taxes because you’re the point of sale and you can’t write off anything other than the cost of goods sold,” said Bearnson.
Very limited tax write offs are affecting Bearnson’s marijuana business Oregon Farmacy.
His other business, Gypsy Blues Bar, business which is just a restaurant and a bar – has nothing to do with marijuana – is also getting the short end of the stick.
After 15 years leasing in downtown Bearson wanted to upgrade.
“We were looking to purchase a building, own the real-estate and expand our operations,” said Bearnson.
But three banks have told him “no” to a loan since agencies like Business Oregon, which receive state dollars will not back his restaurant.
The reason is because Bearnson owns stock in the cannabis industry.
“Our state tax dollars go into that $50 million dollars that goes to Business Oregon and yet they can’t turn around and guarantee loans from small businesses,” said Bearnson.
However, talks of legalizing marijuana at the federal level are giving Bearnson hope.
“If there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that I will be able to expand my other business and own real-estate and not be under the thumb of a landlord anymore, It is going to make a drastic difference on our ability to maintain solvency and keep our doors open for sure,” said Bearnson.
In the meantime, Bearnson says he is looking for avenues to contest the pending policy Business Oregon has that does not allow them to guarantee his loans.